Toyota Keeps Hydrogen Faith With New Mirai

Toyota has reaffirmed its commitment to hydrogen fuel cell powertrains with the world debut of its second generation Mirai whose makeover is decidedly sporting.

The saloon will be unveiled at next month’s 2019 Tokyo Motor Show and takes a considerably more appealing direction than the rather sensible and staid current model. That said, the automaker credits the current Mirai as a catalyst for increasing global awareness of how a future clean and sustainable hydrogen society might be achieved. Since launch, around 10,000 Mirai have been sold mainly to commercial fleets for evaluation.

While the current model claims a range between refueling of about 300 miles, the new sharply styled car is claiming a 30% increase in range to up to nearly 400 miles thanks to improvements to the fuel cell system and the use of larger on-board hydrogen tanks.

Restyling sees the new car enjoying sleek sporty bodywork and 20-inch diameter wheels hoping to generate a powerful look. The preview car will be presented in a blue paint finish that uses multiple layers to achieve brightness and depth of color.

Inside the key elements include a 12.3-inch center display, a wrap-around instrument panel and five instead of the existing four seats.

In line with its new sporting pretensions, the car is constructed on Toyota’s latest rear wheel drive modular platform, which was engineered from the outset to accommodate different powertrains, including a hydrogen fuel cell. The new Mirai is scheduled for launch in 2020, initially in Japan, North America and Europe.

Yoshikazu Tanaka, the new Mirai’s chief engineer, said: “We have pursued the goal of making a car that customers will feel they want to drive all time, a car that has an emotional and attractive design and the kind of dynamic and responsive performance that can bring a smile to the driver’s face. I want customers to say ‘I chose the Mirai not just because it’s an FCEV, but because I simply wanted this car; it just happens to be an FCEV.’ We will continue our development work focusing on that feeling, and we hope that with the new Mirai we will be a leader in helping realise a hydrogen energy society.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_



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